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Choosing a 6850

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
May 25, 2011 5:12:41 AM

Hey guys, i have a budget of about 170$, and I'm looking to get a 6850, I've narrowed it down to a couple of options, but I don't have any experience with any of these companies (this is my first time to buy a video card), so if any of you have had to deal with any of them, any advice would be well appreciated =)

Also if someone can give me a good enough reason, i -might- go for a 6870, i have a 210 total budget, but i would like to get a nice CPU cooler as well. Crossfire is definitely an option in the future, and I intend to overclock whatever card I get

Motherboard - MSI 790FX-GD70
CPU - Phenom 2 965 @ 3.4GHz Vcore 1.19v (Hopefully to 4GHz with whatever cooler i get, but at least 3.8)
Memory - G.Skill Ripjaws CAS 9 DDR3 2000 @ CAS 8 DDR3 1333
PSU Antec Earthwatts 650w
Case - Rosewill Destroyer (two 120mm on top, one in front one in back)
VGA - Nvidia GT120

More about : choosing 6850

a c 153 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 5:21:57 AM

Since you're on a budget the best CPU cooler for you would the Hyper 212+. Its sold out in a lot of places but you can get it for less then 25 dollars if you search, plus its really good.

On to the GPU. Let's say it costs you 30 for the cooler. That leaves you 180 for the GPU.

So this could be a good reason to get a 6870.

May 25, 2011 5:45:15 AM

thats 192 though.. I'd really like to get a Hyper 212+, but I'm not really comfortable ordering from anyone besides newegg =\
What about the Xigmatek s1283?
I'd like a dual fan heat sink if possible..

I meant to add that my monitor is 1680x1050, so resolution isnt a huge deal to me
How would a setup of crossfired 5830s fare? i know its not a very good card, but sapphire has them selling for 103$..
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a b U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 6:09:26 AM

If you're short on cash, crossfired 5830's will be great. But I'd aim for a better single card like the 6870 instead. The 6000 series scales better in Crossfire.

Frosty Tech has some great reviews on coolers. Here's the ranking table at the end of every review:
May 25, 2011 6:55:48 AM

So neither of you would recommend a 6850 if I can avoid it?
a b U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 7:06:34 AM

It's not worth it when the price jump to a 6870 is only $20.

The jump from a 6870 to a 6950 is $50, so I can't really tell you to do that. But $20, yeah, that's worth it.

If you go single card, the $100 5830 is the best price/performance. $140 5850 is next, since it performs between the 6870 and 6850. If you go double card, the $200 for two 5830's blows a single 6870 out of the water (exceeds GTX 570 performance). But then some say Crossfire is a hassle. I haven't tried it myself, but I believe them.

Personally, I only buy cards that are a great deal. I'd get the $100 5830 (or $250 unlockable 6950 2GB reference model). But the 5830's not the best performing card out there and you won't get to max out settings like you can with a 6870.
a c 175 U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 6:12:33 PM

With a resolution of 1680x1050, you will likely find a HD6850 sufficient. In fact, if you're willing to possibly turn down some of the eye candy, or not use AA, then a HD5770 is probably all you need. Check the benchmarks of the games you [want to] play.
Don't be convinced to spend money if you need it for other things. Consider the increasing prices of gasoline, food, and many other things.
As to the HSF, the price of the Hyper 212+ got jacked to $35 at Newegg, but the essentially identical Xigmatek Gaia is still $30.
May 25, 2011 9:07:41 PM

as it turns out, i was wrong, my budget for the video card itsself is about 200$ (240 - the cost of a cooler and a case light ive been looking at)
so 6870 it is.. =D
Which one should i get though? I've heard that pretty much any other companies cooler is good, and that the reference cooler is just crap. I have a Mid-Tower case for the time being, so hot air is a major issue..

Maybe this one?

The main reason that I'm thinking to go with the 6000s is that i eventually will crossfire, possibly several cards, so the scalability and temperatures seem more plausible

Also I think I'm going to go with the Xigmatek S1283, its rated almost exactly the same as the 212+, (a little better actually) and is going for 35$

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
May 25, 2011 11:31:26 PM

On average, the scaling is really bad when you exceed two cards. Half the time, you might get a 50% boost with a third (in contrast to the 90% boost with the second card), but the other half you get almost no boost or decreased performance. Nevertheless, some people swear by tri-SLI, which supposedly scales worse than tri-crossfire.

If you're not planning on Crossfire, I'd say something like a $190 GTX 560Ti is best. But since you are, the Radeon 6870 is pretty good for that. If you're worried about hot air in a smaller case, then you'll want external exhaust more like this:

I personally would choose based on price & warranty. Conveniently, the XFX I linked has the lowest price and a lifetime warranty.

The cooler matters some on GPUs, but they can take heat better than CPUs. Even if it does limit the lifetime, it'll be well worth it to upgrade for free using the warranty in several years anyways.

Buy some case fans if you're worried about hot air in your case. And, if you want, spend $10 more on a card with a cooler you like, but I doubt it'll do much for framerates.
May 26, 2011 4:57:39 AM

Best answer selected by Hobybobag.
May 26, 2011 4:58:47 AM

yeah, i could go for that idea.. I plan on getting a rosewill Thor eventually, but in the meantime i could just put an extra exhaust fan by it.. and im getting a new cpu cooler anyway.. so that works out great lol